How to Write an Introduction for a Text Response

28 April 2022
Posted in Study
28 April 2022 Team Alchemy

Every Year 12 student is expected to write a text response essay. Knowing how to word the essay and structure it appropriately is critical to setting yourself apart from the crowd.

Most students consider text responses the easiest essays. The approach to the essay is overly simplified, leading to students not putting enough effort into drafting and structuring the essay. When writing a text response essay, the introduction is one of the most critical aspects to consider. Writing a well-structured and meaningful introduction sets you apart from the crowd to, the assessor.

Text Response Essays

Every student in year 12 is presented with three main types of topics for your text response:

  • A “Discuss” topic
  • A “Do You Agree?” question
  • A topic that uses a quote then asks questions about the theme suggested by that quote.

Generally, you will need a strong introduction to set the stage for your essay. The introduction must respond directly to the topic and present clear contention.

A “Discuss” Topic

With a discussion topic, you have the liberty to define the boundaries you intend to explore in your essay. These topics tend to have a broad range of responses, so students must practice caution to include too many ideas in the introduction.

The introduction should have a thread of ideas you will explore, organically linking the stories associated with the theme. This makes the sentences easier to handle and understand.

Also, when drafting the introduction, it’s vital to add some keywords from the topic and embed them into the essay.

A “Do You Agree?” Topic

The second type of topic you can find in a text response essay is the “do you agree?” topic. One of the most common mistakes students make when writing an introduction for this kind of topic is using the words ‘Yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘I agree,’ or ‘I disagree.’ These words are entirely off-limits. You should consider a more formal and objective way of framing your contention.

You might use a first-person perspective, but that’s not necessary as long as you present your clear point of view.

You should also focus on other characters named in the question (if any) besides the main character. This gives you more freedom to compare, contrast and explore in your essay.

A “Theme-based” Topic

Theme-based topics have a broader scope of exploration. But you should remember that you shouldn’t base the entire essay on the quote you have to get you started. However, you can reference the quote at some point in your essay. With theme-based topics, you need to show understanding of the context of the quote in relation to the text n general.

Your introduction can focus on some broad ideas you intend to delve into later in the essay. Having a broad approach to the introduction allows the writer to look at both implicit and explicit examples of the ideas suggested in the stories.

The introduction should have critical terms from the topic embedded. Also, remember that the introduction will establish how you advance with the contention. Hence you should take some time to draft and structure your introduction.

How to Write the Perfect Text Response Introduction

You should follow a few steps to ensure you come up with the best possible introduction regardless of the type of topic you’re dealing with.

Set up the context

While dealing with a play, novel, short story, or poem collection, it’s critical to start with a basic historical context. This should include the period, subject matter, and other vital details on which you will base the essay. This shouldn’t take more than a sentence or two. Keep this section brief because it is not the most important part of the essay.

Outline your contention – explicitly

Your contention should address every aspect of the topic you’ve been given. It should also demonstrate your ability to think independently, especially if you’re gunning for top marks. Most importantly, it should be unique. Your angle on this topic is the single most crucial factor of your essay.

Highlight the arguments in your essay

Give the assessor a hint of the points or mini-contentions that will form the basis of each paragraph. Ideally, you should aim for at least three body paragraphs and up to five if you’re feeling ambitious. Each mini contention should relate to the overall contention and the topic to give the entire essay some cohesion and continuity.

The introduction to your text response essay is not just about putting together three or four sentences to get you started. If you write the introduction well, you immediately create a positive impression on the assessor, which could mean getting top marks for the essay.

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